Wreck your body, free your soul...

Here's a novel idea...pursue fun and happiness by destroying your liver, weakening your immune system, depriving yourself of sleep, and willingly freezing your nuts off in hypothermia-inducing waters. Brilliant, right? Not only do I have a weird, twisted definition of fun, but, oddly enough, so do 10 of my friends and coworkers.

Here's how it went down. About a month ago, while sitting at a bar, planning a mellow camping trip on the coast to celebrate Bobby's birthday, a few coworkers and I decided to rent a house for a weekend instead. This could have been a stroke of genius, or it could have spelled our doom. Only the future would tell. At the time, though, a house with beds, toilets and a refrigerator was much more appealing. Little did we know what possibilities it would open up for us.

As Bobby's birthday approached, the excitement grew; people planned meals, picked out music and movies to bring, dusted off old board games, and bought their drinks of choice. As the excitement grew, though, so did my cold. Yes, just before we left, I came down with a nasty cold. It was enough for me to cancel, thus avoiding forseen debauchary and resting at home. That would have been the wise decision. But, upon the sagely advice of Bobby, I decided to be sick at the beach and "get my rest there." Yeah, right.

So, Thursday morning I thoroughly hydrated myself, loaded up on sudafed, acquainted myself with Airborne (some miracle-working, immune system booster), and loaded all my stuff into Maggie's car. She, Stacey and I then met up with Gretchens, Bobby, Nate and Lacey. In two vehicles, we caravaned to the coast. Before reaching our coastal oasis, Nate convinced us all how wonderful and awe inspiring the cheese-making process can be, so we stopped at the Tillamook cheese factory. It was there, as if forshadowing the weekend wonder to come, I was given the splendid, self-guided tour. I saw just how complicated, yet eerily simple, the making of cheese can be. Also, I learned what a curd is and tasted "squeeky" cheese.

Now we were only 10 minutes from the town of Rockaway, the same town that would soon be host to three days of beligerence and revelry (as well as a Tsunami scare) from a handful of otherwise "civil" and "proper" social workers. Uh huh.

It took us a while to find the house on Pacific Avenue, despite the fact Rockaway only has three streets. It just so happens that the three streets are S. Pacific (now known as Spacific street), N. Pacific, and plain ol' Pacific. Once there, we quickly unpacked, familiarized ourselves with the place, and then headed out to the beach. Bobby, Stacey, and Maggie hiked along the coast and found a tank (which I later discovered was an abnormally large piece of drift wood) in combat training. It was so big and agile, when they pointed it out, Gretchen and I could see it moving from a mile a way. Apparently, it was strategically located to protect us from the Tsunami that was scheduled to hit at 10:30 that night (sure am glad my tax money is going to anti-Tsunami defense missiles).

After acquainting ourselves with the beach, the real hurt began. Two plus days of drinking, sleep deprivation, and fighting over whose IPod songs to play. Joy! The first night was highlighted, first, by an awesome Korean dinner (Bulgoge, or something like that), cooked by Nate and Bobby. Second, as some propelled themselves headfirst into their bottles quicker than others, there was an apparent NCI training in our living room. That's non-violent (sort of) crisis intervention, for those not in the know. This consisted of CCPs, TCPs, EFPs, and room seclusions (I know, only some readers will understand this). Third, as people sought to hide from the chaos taking place in the house, our first bonfire was constructed. This fire would have done the Boy Scouts proud, as we managed to start a fire with wet wood, no kindling, and only cardboard beer containers. While enjoying our fiery fete, some began playing frisbee with Nate's battery-operated, illuminated disc. It was then that we heard the air-raid siren echo along the coast. We all came to the realization that a tsunami was surely coming and that the aforementioned tank-in-training was to be our only savior. Actually, we just continued to drink, play frisbee and somehow manage to stay up until 3:45 in the morning.

That took us to the next day. And of course, day two also had it's highlights...namely a four hour epic battle of Risk, The Game of Global Domination. Yes, oldschoolers, we brought Risk to our weekend retreat. This game, though, was accompanied by bloody maries and multiple giggle-snorts from Gretchens, as well as a repeated salivary assault that saw pieces of celery, olive, and tomato juice project from Gretchens mouth on to anything that was within 3 feet of the table. In the end, Bobby, and his communist ways, took over the world, sweeping through North America, down to Central America, and accross into Africa.

After our World War II reenactment, we decided to have our own Normandy invasion on the beach. However, this D-Day invasion saw casualties in the form of frostbitten legs and feet, shrunken testies the size of beebees, and brain freezes. Yes, we stripped to our skivvies, proclaimed our man-ness, and ran (more like a delicate tip-toeing) into the freezing ocean. It didn't take long to conquer Normandy, however, as we were quickly back on the beach trying to recesitate our man parts.

When we finally got the blood flowing through our bodies, we attempted to teach Gretchens the wonderful game of "three man." The rules of 3 man are pretty simple: roll dice and, based on the number rolled, someone has to drink. The more your rolls make someone drink, you can add rules to the game. Some of the better rules created were: 1) no looking at the person you are talking to, 2) any sentance spoken must be said in the form of a question, 3) whenever you say "the" you have to bite your toe, and 4) whenever you curse, you must use oil pastels to draw on a framed canvass brought by Gretchens. The game was a bit frenetic, but all good fun.

As more people began to arrive at the house, we decided to make another bonfire and cook the shish kabobs that Mark made. So, we headed back down to the beach and saw a repeat of the first night, minus the tsunami, but with more people. When midnight hit, and it was officially Bobby's birthday, we broke out a pinata for him to go to town on. This was no ordinary pinata, though. This was a homemade replication of George Bush's head, kindly and artistically created by Gretchens and Nate. Also, as we soon discovered once Bobby cracked George's head, it was filled with candy, tiny plastic penis', bible history playing cards, and miniature liquor bottles.

As the night wore on, and the symptoms of my cold began catching up with me, I decided to call it a night at about 1 AM. Upon waking the next morning, I learned that I missed out on mime dancing, more NCI training (poor Colin woke up with a three inch long rug burn on his forehead), and karaoke while I slept. I was a little disappointed to miss out on the action, but at this point was more looking forward to going home and recupperating. And that's just what we did, leaving Rockaway as a mere memory on the beach.

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